Here we are in week 3 of Naxxramas. We’ve done spider and plagues, but now it’s time for some military might! Once again, due to servers opening up at various times, North American players already have guides available to them, but I’ll also chip in my two gold with my experience and thoughts.
First, let’s talk about new cards. While we’ve got a lot of neat deathrattle cards being released, I like the Spectral Knight. This is the beefiest “can’t be targeted by spells or hero powers” creature we have to date. What I really like about these cards, though, is that you can still target them with battlecry abilities, but people tend to forget this. That is, you can buff them, ping thing, silence them, etc. They can be hard to play with sometimes, but with the right deck, can work wonders, especially against mages. This may make them a higher pick in arena, where I still feel like mages rule, but the cost is also a bit high. Just the same, it deals decent damage and won’t be killed by Flamestrike, two things I really look for in an arena card. The ability to not be directly targeted is awesome, but you’ll need the right cards to make the best use of him, which always makes a card a bit less useful for the randomness that is arena.
We’ve got Voidcaller for deathrattle fans, but keep in mind that the ability from this card will pull the card directly into play. That means that while you won’t have to, say, pay 3 health or discard a card for that demon, it also means it won’t replace your hero card. Be careful when constructing with or using this card!
The shaman Reincarnate spell is nice because it’s flexible. You could use it to trigger a nice deathrattle on your creatures, reset a nearly dead mob with a nice battlecry or ability, or use it to do the same to your opponent. Deathlord might be a nice target for this if you can handle it. The card seems useful but dangerous at the same time. It’s nice against zoo decks that won’t be pulling giants on you, but at the same time, against the wrong deck, things could get rough. If you’re playing a control deck though, it might be ok. Having Reincarnate or a hard “destroy” card ready to play after killing Deathlord can help you force out a card your opponent would like to protect. Also, much like with Voidcaller, this ability just pulls the card into play, so it can really hurt your opponent if you pull the right card.
Dancing Swords may seem a bit risky, but it gives you good tempo on the field. It might be worth the risk in arena just because the game’s more random, at least for me, I’d rather get a 4/4 on turn 3 (or even 2 with the coin!) than wait too long for something of equal size to rear it’s ugly head. Most of the time, this thing is big enough to have a good effect on the board, or will cause your opponent a few cards to get rid of. However, later in the game, when your opponent probably has the cards to deal with this, the trade is easier for them, which means the card is less useful for you.
And of course, we can’t forget the Baron. What I like about this card is that it’s cheap and has a nice effect while also having a lot of health. Don’t play this card unless you can get a few deathrattle effects off on the same turn (and make sure they’re ones that help you, not your opponent!). It’s still gimmicky for sure, and probably not something you’ll want to bring to the arena, but it seems like it’ll be fun for constructed.
With that in mind, I logged in as soon as I could (I work in Japan, so I have work before the official launch). This time, however, I had no issues with purchasing as I had last week.
Razuvious is the first boss up, and much like the Vanilla WoW version of him, priests seem to be his weakness. Just having taunt creatures, some healing, and the same priest cards as last week (Power Word: Shield, Inner Fire, Divine Spirit, and of course, Lightwell) makes this encounter a walk in the park.
Gothik went down to my shaman murloc deck, which has 0 legendaries and only murloc rares. Maybe I’ve just gotten used to the gimmicks, but the first week felt like it had some challenges, while each week seems easier and easier. I had, however, heard that heroic Gothik was tough, so I was expecting a lot more from this fight.
The four horsemen were interesting. I didn’t read up on the encounter ahead of time, but the idea of having Rivendare at only 7 health but immune to damage until his 3 creatures, the other horsemen, dead was an interesting idea. My weenie deck didn’t fare so well, but it was a close match considering how poor of a selection it felt. However, a rematch with druid deck that had some beefy taunt creatures worked. I know the deck I used on Razuvious would have worked much better, but I wanted to struggle a bit. I know, I’m sick.
For the class challenges, I started with the shaman vs. Gothik encounter, hoping for a challenge, which I got, but nothing too hard. Save buffing and Gothik’s self destruct cards for sacrificial purposes. When most of his minions die, you get a ghost that deals damage to you every freaking turn. You obviously don’t want that. Once I got this down, he was easy enough, but I could see how Gothik could really be a tough fight on heroic.
Sadly, four horsemen with the warlock deck was just far, far too simple. I didn’t even get lucky with Voidcaller, having it pull in demons that I really didn’t want on the field but had to hold in my hand. That being said, you get more than enough creatures with taunt and cards that heal. It really was simple.
Priests seem to rule this week’s heroics once again. Razuvious falls rather easily to this deck if you can get the Inner Fire/Divine Shield combo in your opening hand.
The Horsemen were a little harder, but a few modifications to the above deck gave birth to a few new ideas. This week’s Deathlord actually fit rather well, not just because it’s cheap, but because there’s no downside on a deck with 0 creatures (aside from the ones he starts with in play). However, the deck is very much geared towards killing the minions and then kind of stalling. I won by dealing damage, but Baron took some fatigue damage. That gave me an idea for Gothik.
A quick look at the internet proved that many people were using some sort of stall deck against Gothik to beat him, so I felt justified in me next plan: a druid deck that would really bring things to a crawl. The only problem was that, without epics, it wasn’t enough. I tried multitudes of other decks and they just couldn’t hack it without anything higher than a rare. I was also trying to avoid yet another priest deck because priest was just making things too easy. I tried several versions of several kinds of stall decks, but without any epics, it was really rough. Eventually, I settled on this warrior deck. It has 2 epics, but I felt they fit the situation well enough, and I assume a good deal of us average players have gotten several of these and felt sheer rage. Well, finally you have a use for them! I won my first try with what felt like a bad hand, so I think it’s pretty decent. A Nerubian Egg and something to get it to attack and kill itself with is a good opening hand I think, but I did well with an Unstable Ghoul, Rampage, and Execute.
Finally, thoughts on last week’s arena. The new cards are really changing things up! Druids certainly seem more powerful, with Poison Seeds being rather flexible. Several deathrattle creatures are comboing nicely with druids, and having control of when to kill creatures that benefit you is very nice. You do need to worry about when this benefits your opponent, but in arena, having the ability to wipe the board has always been something that gives one player a big advantage. Just, be wise when you use it. Rogues are still feeling like they’re in a good position because of last week, but hunters and mages, if anything, seem to be hurting because of the current deathrattle effects and the fact that their board cleaning skills come from damage. The hard reset druids get means you have more control over the situation: build weenies to make them stronger and more numerous than your opponent’s? Kill your own deathrattle creatures to use their effects? Perhaps exploit an opponent’s death rattle so that the reset hurts her as well? Don’t forget that you get to attack before using the card!
Next week we’ll be in the Construct Quarter facing not 3, but 4 bosses! Our prizes nearly all have a deathrattle effect that can be exploited if used correctly, so go out now and get your own Baron in preparation!
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